Report: Yankees might turn to Cubs' Zambrano for starting power

Having lost the Cliff Lee(notes) sweepstakes, general manager Brian Cashman has said the New York Yankees will proceed with Plan B.

Or should it be called Plan Cub-bie?

Buried in the 10th paragraph of his Monday column, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News is reporting the Yankees are turning to the Chicago Cubs roster — of all teams — to get the Bronx back to the promised land.

Madden writes that the Yankees are going after right-hander Carlos Zambrano(notes) of the Chicago Cubs. Zambrano isn't Lee, but he is expensive — his $91.5 million contract runs through 2012 (plus a vesting option in '13) — and he would give the Yanks a name in their rotation.

Further, the Yankees on Tuesday cut a minor league deal with former Cubs ace Mark Prior(notes), who's been trying a comeback for about five years. And they've been talking to reliever Kerry Wood(notes) about returning to set up Mariano Rivera(notes).

And they recently hired pitching coach Larry Rothschild away from the Cubs, too.

Is there a theme going on, here? Does Matt Clement(notes) have anything left in the tank? The Yankees appear to poaching the 2003 Cubs!

Prior is just an if/come and costs the Yankees little but attention. So, he's OK. Wood pitched well in New York. He's OK, too. Matt Clement is not really coming back. But why would Rothschild want to revisit life with Big Z, who has proven to be more trouble than he's worth in Chicago?

So far, there's no word from Zambrano's camp that a trade is imminent.

Rothschild already has a major project in A.J. Burnett(notes). How much attention would he be able to spend on Zambrano? Granted, Zambrano has had moments of greatness — but they're punctuated by fits of bad behavior.

Whether it's emotional outbursts aimed at teammates or drink dispensers, or slacking in his personal conditioning, Zambrano is a lot of work.

For various reasons, his innings have dropped, from 216 to 188 in 2008, to 160 in '09 and 129 this past season. He was better pitching for Cubs interim manager Mike Quade down the stretch in '10 after returning from a suspension for screaming at teammate Derrek Lee(notes). Maybe treatment for his emotional troubles helped. But is he still attending?

Z would be great if Rothschild wanted to start a three-ring circus in Yankee Stadium. If he wants a pitching rotation, the Yankees had better keep looking.

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